Stories From Our Members

I joined ORE shortly after moving to Montpelier last June, 2013. It quickly became one of my favorite parts of life here- something I’d rave about to all my friends, family, and really, anyone who’d listen. I’d describe it to them in detail, explaining, “No, there really isn’t money involved,” and, “Yes, I did learn how to milk a goat just for fun!” Since my first (only marginally successful) attempt at goat milking, my exchanges have grown in variety, frequency, and each one is more meaningful than the last. Even when they involve mundane tasks, such as receiving a ride to the airport, or helping out with housecleaning, my exchanges have opened up countless opportunities to connect with people in the community. And I think that’s really what draws me to the exchange- some of the most meaningful friendships I’ve made this year have been through ORE.
 
As a newcomer to the community, it was a great way to become involved in local activities and meet new people, and I’ve picked up new skills that were completely unfamiliar to me before ORE. I’ve been attending woodcarving classes through ORE for the past six months, I learned how to double-knit while knitting mittens in an exchange, and I now receive a loaf of delicious, homemade sourdough bread each week. I’ve seen an herbalist at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, and I help a friend dust and polish her furniture once a month. I’m always looking to support my local community in any way possible, and to me, ORE seems like a clear way to do so. By fostering local connections, and escaping the capitalistic, materialistic popular mindset that so often places value in money above all else, ORE strengthens our community each day. I’m leaving town this June, and ORE is one of the parts of my Montpelier life I will miss most of all. And if where I’m going next doesn’t have a time bank, I’ll certainly work hard to change that!
Anna Tracht

Anna Maike Chloe 2014 exchange
I love exchanging!  The picture to the right shows the outcome of SO many exchanges.  I started taking wood carving as an exchange, which is where I met Maike (pictured in the middle; I am on the right).  Maike had made these amazing mittens…double walled and just delicious.  As she had also joined ORE, I asked if she might make me a pair.  She declined to make a pair, but was game to teach the process.  I found another Member, Anna (pictured at the left and story above) who was game to learn how to make these mittens.  The three of us met up, Maike gave lessons to Anna, and then Anna made me the mittens!  Anna also ended up joining in on the wood carving class. 
ORE has introduced me to countless friends, new skills…and the best mittens I will ever own!
Chloe Budnick

I became an ORE member after years of resisting the urging of a friend.  I thought with my work and family commitments, there was no corner of my time free for providing services and with my busy life figuring out what I might use seemed like an additional chore.  Riley, Rebecca pic

Now, I use the network often.  I am grateful for a whole vast group of people whose skills and help I can draw on.  I have had folks bake for me, made use of a truck and driver on a garden project, gotten help doing computer resear4ch and collaborated in the creation of a long musical playlist for a special event.  My ability to consider solutions and brain storm responses to life’s challenges has increased because I have so many people I may be able to call on.  And it turns out, my everyday work life is the place where I have benefited the most. 

Every week I unfold the laundry done for me by an ORE member, and when I travel to study an ORE secretary takes over the scheduling of my appointments for my massage business.  In exchange I offer services in a way that fits my schedule and has become a delightful way to meet people I might never have known otherwise. 

ORE has made my life richer and easier and I am grateful to everyone who has worked to make it succeed. 

Rebecca Riley

Dear Heather,

I have been a member of the Onion River Exchange since June of 2007, and of REACH since February of 2011. I have performed 49 exchanges and received 21 exchanges.  I have done quite a variety of tasks, including picking up someone’s compost, selling tickets at a garlic festival, helping someone with computer entry, picking up clothing scraps at Salaam in Plainfield and delivering them to the Re-Store, and typing up a grandmother’s memoir.  Services I’ve received include several cooking classes (one of my favorite things to do), wall repair and painting, the loan of a truck to move a mattress, and having ceiling fans installed.  Plus too many others to detail.
In addition to saving a lot of money, the main outcome for me has been the establishment of friendships within our Montpelier community, and some surrounding areas.  This aspect is so crucial for a single woman living in Vermont, or anywhere for that matter.  I look forward to many more years of Time Banking in Central Vermont.

Sincerely, Linda


Dear ORE,
I am truly grateful for our time bank. Every time I have made an exchange or even walked into the office to connect with Chloe or anyone else, I have immediately felt part of our community. And with that feeling comes a sense of purpose, belonging and security being part of a community of caring and generous people.  To me that is the greatest benefit and secondly is the benefit  of the exchange itself whether it is carpentry, a Massage, baked goods, a tune up on my bicycle, help with writing my Advanced Directive, or any of the many skilled and thoughtful services provided by our members. Each time I have provided a service or product I have a feeling of both having given and received through that exchange.   Every exchange, whether giving or receiving, has been in a relaxed and generous spirit of wanting to be part of what is most precious in being human. Exchange really primes the pump for wanting to Co-create a community that values each person and what s/he has to offer.
In gratitude,
Karen


How Time Banking has Changed My Life

“A time bank is a network to exchange skills and talents with other members without using money.”

About a year and a half ago, I was considering changing jobs and retiring as the librarian at the Barre Town School. I searched want ads, Craigslist, and the World for possible jobs that might fit my specific skills. I knew a great deal about children’s books but as a librarian I also had management skills, could stage events, and knew how to use resources. Luckily, I landed an interview as the receptionist at the Reach time bank. Within a month, I became the Outreach Coordinator which meant I had to amp up my learning curve and learn new computer applications as well as how to navigate social media. Since May 2012, the Reach time bank merged with the Onion River Exchange, we have gained over 175 members, and retooled the way we do business so members are increasingly engaged.

But it wasn’t the new skill set that changed my life, it was being a time bank member. Through my time banking exchanges I have learned our community is amazingly abundant and resourceful with skills, services, and talents to share.  I know I can rely on asking Cecile for business advice, go to Rebecca when I am achy and in need of a massage, get my computer fixed from Stan, and recently Bernadeth made Sri Lankan food for my birthday dinner. I have tutored my town’s crossing guard how to upload photos, created a watercolor to be used for thank you cards, dusted Jen’s house after a post construction mess, and weeded Elizabeth’s garden. Time banking has changed the way I engage and experience my community.  I am meeting people that I never would have met otherwise, helping others, and saving money. When I walk down the street I see members of the community whom I have met through the time bank and know how each of us has made a difference. Heather


I joined ORE Time Bank approximately ten months ago.  At first, it was a little difficult to connect with other members but I found by contacting them directly, I had great success. I also found the monthly Pot Luck Dinners invaluable for networking. After the meal, we go around the room ,introduce ourselves and say what we offer and what we are requesting.  Invariably, there is always someone who will raise their hand and say, “oh, I can help you with that!”  Never fails.
I have had many exchanges over the past ten months.  I offer organizing consultations, decorating consultations, baking cookies, helping folks sell on Craig’s List and eBay and have coached new or inexperienced members on how to use the computer to set up exchanges.
I have received many services: genealogy searches, raking, gardening, trucking, massage, portrait sketched, pie made, herbal consultation, life coaching, professional entertainment, makeup consultation, bike repair, upholstery cleaning, car detailing, house cleaning and filing.  And I got all of this without spending a dime of real money!!I love being an active member of the ORE Time Bank.  The more active you are, the more fun it is.
Gail Gove


Although Bernadeth W’s name was misspelled on her immigration documents, her real name is Bernadette! Who would guess that Bernadette W  & Bernadette Rose both live in Barre and have made a great connection? After a “site visit” to Bern R’s home the site of post construction dust and garden dirt,  Bernie W agreed to help Bern R clean up!

Bernie W, from Sri Lanka, is an amazing cook and comes from a lush country with mountains of fresh foods. The two walked down to see Bern R’s garden, where they picked beans, squash, kale, & tomatillos for Bernie W.  Surprise and good fortune for Bern R was yummy, spicy samples of Sri Lankan food to take home when she gave Bernie W a ride.  (watch out for those apple bits!) omg.  If you love flavor, spicy, delicious food, Bernie W will cook for you!berns (1)best

Bern R is VERY grateful for the help Bernie W provided getting her kitchen in order and cleaned up a bit.  In the conversation, Bernie W mentioned driving lessons, so we went driving about – you know hill starts and Vermont turn-arounds?  What a great match!  We took a picture of the amazing “volunteer” squash in Bern R’s garden. The delicata heritage kept even the larger squash delicious to eat!  We hope you enjoyed our exchange story. Bernie W is a new ORE member, so please take a look at her profile!  Bern R goes way back in ORE, but is always happy to make a new friend and ESPECIALLY one to help her clean house! Bern


From Sage,

My partner and I have been having a grand ole time time bank exchanging. We visit with a Northfield Member almost every weekend. And what has come out of our time visiting with her is amazing abundance/opportunities/education/experiences I would never have had without the time bank. I feel more abundant with the time bank hours than money, so I am willing to spend hours on things I wouldn’t spend money on and expose myself to new experiences.

For example, I went to an herbal class with a Member I would not have gone to w/o the time bank, cause I rarely spend money on classes, but hours is different. And it taught me a lot and has added to my knowledge/what I teach to others as an herbalist as well, because all herbalists have different knowledge. I also have purchased 4 tinctures from the teacher through the timebank! I would not normally have bought these in a store, but I had a lot of hours and thought, sure, well surprisingly, these tinctures are made with herbs I don’t ordinarily use and don’t know much about and because of the timebank again, I am learning about a whole plethora of new herbs (and flower essences). But of all exchanges, the most wonderful is with a potter in Woodbury. My partner and I have been going and taking pottery lessons, it is amazing/fun/relaxing and something I have always wanted to do, but felt cost a lot of money and seemed difficult to access, but with the time bank it is much easier.  So overall, the message of this email, is I am more open to spending hours of opportunities I won’t take w/o it, it creates a feeling of abundance and connects community and brings out peoples gifts, especially of teaching. Sage